Infectious disease experts say poor practices in vaccine delivery are the likely cause of infections reported by some people who received vaccine shots at their places of employment in the Ohio Valley.
Kentucky health officials are investigating a link between the infections and a private Kentucky company hired to deliver vaccinations in the workplace. Location Vaccination, based in Mount Sterling, Kentucky, administered vaccines to staff at other companies in 22 cities and towns in Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana.
University of Louisville infectious disease specialist Dr. Ruth Carrico said human error in administering the vaccine likely caused the problem.
“Practices by someone to provide care to prevent disease actually did the very opposite,” Carrico said. “It actually resulted in patient harm, and when you look at that, this is not excusable. This should not have happened.”
Health officials said in a statement that the infection may show up as redness, pain or tenderness, swelling, or nodules at the injection site. Medical treatment is needed to resolve the infection.
Dr. Kawsar Talaat researches infectious disease at the John Hopkins University School of Medicine. She said strict protocols for handling and delivering vaccines make infections linked to vaccination rare. She said it is important to pin down how these infections happened in order to keep it from happening again.
“This is an outlier,” she said. “But clearly something went wrong with the administration of these vaccines. It is incumbent on public health officials to find out what went wrong.”
A spokesperson for the Kentucky Department of Public Health said in an email that most of the vaccines in question were delivered in a workplace setting and that state investigators are still working to determine the scope of the problem.
Health officials “strongly encourage” anyone who may have received a vaccine from Location Vaccination to get another shot. The first shots may not have been effective.
The owners of Location Vaccination did not respond to multiple requests for comment. The company is operated by Fairshinda Sabounchi McLaughlin under the medical license of Dr. Paul E. McLaughlin.
Here is a list of cities where Location Vaccination provided services.
Alexandria, Butler, Georgetown, Lexington, Louisville, Paris, Maysville, Mount Sterling, Winchester.
Greenville, Dayton, Georgetown, Norwood, Cincinnati, Columbus, Circleville, St. Bernard, Pike County, Beech Hollow, Mansfield.